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Prevalence of treated hypothyroidism in the community: Analysis from general practices in North-East England with implications for the United Kingdom

Lookup NU author(s): Lorna Ingoe, Arvind Rajagopal, Dr Salman Razvi


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© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Objective: Hypothyroidism is more frequently diagnosed in women and older individuals. It has been suggested that the prevalence of hypothyroidism and the number of prescriptions for thyroid hormones are increasing. However, despite hypothyroidism being a common medical condition, contemporary data on prevalence, particularly across the various age groups, is limited. Design: Information regarding number of individuals diagnosed with treated hypothyroidism (defined as patients prescribed levothyroxine) across ten General Practices (total population of 66 843) in the North-East of England in 2016 was obtained in an anonymized manner. Total as well as age group-specific point prevalence rates were calculated. In addition, corresponding population data for the United Kingdom were acquired, and national total and age-specific hypothyroidism prevalence rates were estimated. Results: The overall prevalence of hypothyroidism in this community sample was 4.5% (n = 3004). Prevalence increased across the age groups from 0.1% in children aged 0-10 years to 15.1% in those aged more than 90 years. After adjusting for demographic differences between the North-East England and UK populations, it is estimated that the total UK-wide prevalence of hypothyroidism in 2016 is 3.6%; affecting more than 2.3 million individuals including nearly 800 000 individuals aged >70 years. Conclusions: Hypothyroidism affects millions of individuals in the UK and is currently a prevalent diagnosis in more than 1 in 10 individuals aged above 70 years. As the population ages this number is likely to increase. The clinical and economic effects of current management strategies for hypothyroidism, particularly in the older population, need to be evaluated.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ingoe L, Phipps N, Armstrong G, Rajagopal A, Kamali F, Razvi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Endocrinology

Year: 2017

Volume: 87

Issue: 6

Pages: 860-864

Print publication date: 01/12/2017

Online publication date: 07/08/2017

Acceptance date: 29/07/2017

ISSN (print): 0300-0664

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2265

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/cen.13440


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